Did I get ripped off?

36 replies
I have had a copy writer, that has some business background helping me get my local business back into full swing.

Now I paid for 5hours of help for the week unfortunately I was sick that week, and head to put it on hold. This is what I got
5hours X $15 Per hour = $75.00 Total

This is the business plan I recieved for the week

Weekly Plan for Jamie for week ending 1/29

Every day call ten people the first sales letter was sent to and follow up on that letter--try to get an appointment to meet with the business owner for a few minutes face to face so that you can better sell them on your service.
Mail out letter to new clients

Call local government entities: courthouses, public works offices (department of Children and Families, for example) and ask them about their advertising policy--explain that you run a Bailiff's office and you do, among other things, process serving and would like to advertise your services with a flier or some brochures. Ask if and how you can make that happen and how much it costs.
Call your local newspapers and radio stations and ask them to send over their advertising rates.

Find out if there is any sort of community bulletin board offered on the radio--a call in type show where people can sell things, ask for things, or advertise a service for free (or a small fee).

List your business in every free website in your area.

Find out what the printing rates are at your local print shops for fliers, letterheads, brochures and other items. If these shops have catalogues or fliers of their own collect them and start a file.

Work on keeping office clean and maintained for foot traffic.

Order/create letterhead and business cards.

Does Canada do Notary services? If so, make sure you are licensed as a Notary (this can bring in quite a lot of foot traffic!)


Do you think that is 5 hours of work? Or 5 minutes?
#ripped
  • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
    Personally I wouldn't pay for that kind of thing as I can probably get it done myself but I don't see how it could be a rip off either...

    You agreed to terms and he delivered so now you are having a hissy fit?

    Seems to me that he has boiled everything right down to its core points which is what I would want, who cares whether it took him 5 minutes to do it or 300?

    When a lawyer sends you out a faxed letter do you also complain that it wasn't personally typed by him but by his secretary?

    The thing I am trying to say is look at the results, not the method.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    Sounds like a good five hours worth of work to me. Just calling the government offices and actually speaking to someone that matters is going to take five hours...LOL
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Lisa Gergets View Post

      Sounds like a good five hours worth of work to me. Just calling the government offices and actually speaking to someone that matters is going to take five hours...LOL
      Somehow, I think jamie is saying that only a PLAN for things to do was done.

      Jamie,

      If that is the case, it IS about 5 minutes. BUT, if you agreed on 5 hours, and weren't able to be available, maybe it is legitimate. What were the terms?

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author jam52633
    No no, I just paid 5 hours for the writing. That's it!

    That little blurb there is suppose to be 5 hours of her work. I could have wrote that in 20min tops, and I am not even a writer or business planner.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
    OOOhhhhhh....

    If it took her five hours to write that, well...yeah. Eep.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    My first thought was "you're not going to get a real business plan for $15 an hour".

    Sounds like a case of getting what you pay for.

    That doesn't help your situation.

    I guess the best thing you can do is make the most of what you got. In other words, you can waste time thinking about how you got screwed, or you can invest time in improving your business. If you spend time on the former, you're not doing the latter.

    At least you know not to use her planning services in the future.

    All the best,
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
    Let me play devil's advocate here..

    If you do as she has suggested and you end up making thousands of dollars, would you think it was $75 well spent?

    Just a thought, and no I don't think it amounts to 5 hours work, but then what exactly did u ask her to do for you

    Cheers
    Kim

    Originally Posted by jam52633 View Post

    I have had a copy writer, that has some business background helping me get my local business back into full swing.

    Now I paid for 5hours of help for the week unfortunately I was sick that week, and head to put it on hold. This is what I got
    5hours X $15 Per hour = $75.00 Total

    This is the business plan I recieved for the week

    Weekly Plan for Jamie for week ending 1/29

    Every day call ten people the first sales letter was sent to and follow up on that letter--try to get an appointment to meet with the business owner for a few minutes face to face so that you can better sell them on your service.
    Mail out letter to new clients

    Call local government entities: courthouses, public works offices (department of Children and Families, for example) and ask them about their advertising policy--explain that you run a Bailiff's office and you do, among other things, process serving and would like to advertise your services with a flier or some brochures. Ask if and how you can make that happen and how much it costs.
    Call your local newspapers and radio stations and ask them to send over their advertising rates.

    Find out if there is any sort of community bulletin board offered on the radio--a call in type show where people can sell things, ask for things, or advertise a service for free (or a small fee).

    List your business in every free website in your area.

    Find out what the printing rates are at your local print shops for fliers, letterheads, brochures and other items. If these shops have catalogues or fliers of their own collect them and start a file.

    Work on keeping office clean and maintained for foot traffic.

    Order/create letterhead and business cards.

    Does Canada do Notary services? If so, make sure you are licensed as a Notary (this can bring in quite a lot of foot traffic!)


    Do you think that is 5 hours of work? Or 5 minutes?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
      I'm with Kim...

      If the person you are dealing with "knows" their business there is no way that it would take them 5 hours to come up with an action plan for you.

      Hell, in 5 hours he/she could probably write so many pages that you would never be able to complete the tasks...

      If they are the professional and you are trying to learn/succeed - I'd do what they suggested and if it makes you money - GREAT - if not - Let them know and work it out from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author hushy
    If this is what you paid 75$ for, then I would say yes. You got ripped off. Seeing as how on here you can pretty much get all that info for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    You never know.

    It may have really taken her 5 hours to come up with those ideas, and two minutes to write them down.

    ~Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I think Michael hit the nail on the head.

    Typing that up probably only took 15 minutes, but you are really paying for the advice or plan.

    Whether it's worth $75 or not is another thing - if you didn't know to do those things yourself then following that plan would probably earn you a lot more than $75, right?
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  • Profile picture of the author AmyBrown
    While the plan may have merit and the price for the end result may be fair it's hard to look at it and see 5 hours of work. If you do continue to work with this person I'd suggest changing to a project-based fee rather than hourly.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaiganeshv
    you cannot question about an idea generated, it may have taken hours/days/months to come out of one such idea...

    but it depends if its really worthy..
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I don't think that this was a ripoff but simply a billing error.

    You should have been billed as a FLAT FEE instead of a per-hr
    basis. That is why I always prefer to take the flat fee route
    because clients tend to calculate the hours for a job and feel
    wronged if hours don't reflect the amount of work done.

    Time is no measure of quality. I get better at my skills each
    time I write a new letter, so I should take less time. Why
    should I be 'punished' for being good at what I do?

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    BTW just so there is NO misunderstanding, a business plan is VERY different!

    Small Business Administration - Write a Business Plan

    A business plan is something you can ideally take to a bank and use as an ASSET! It basically shows them you know what you are doing, are qualified, have everything lined up, determined your market and profitability, and only need MONEY. It screams HEY, this isn't a loan, it is a good INVESTMENT!

    I hadn't really thought about THAT aspect of your post until now. If you asked for such a business plan, you WERE cheated. What you have is something NO bank would even LOOK at!

    BTW if you want a REAL business plan, that site can help you out, and probably give you a template. The effort probably WILL be more than 5 hours total, and outsourcing could be expensive. It is best you do it yourself.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Lisa Gergets
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      BTW just so there is NO misunderstanding, a business plan is VERY different!

      Small Business Administration - Write a Business Plan

      A business plan is something you can ideally take to a bank and use as an ASSET! It basically shows them you know what you are doing, are qualified, have everything lined up, determined your market and profitability, and only need MONEY. It screams HEY, this isn't a loan, it is a good INVESTMENT!

      I hadn't really thought about THAT aspect of your post until now. If you asked for such a business plan, you WERE cheated. What you have is something NO bank would even LOOK at!

      BTW if you want a REAL business plan, that site can help you out, and probably give you a template. The effort WILL be more than 5 hours total, and outsourcing could be expensive. It is best you do it yourself.

      Steve
      Agreed. What you have is not a business plan, but a plan of action for your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author jam52633
    Sorry, I meant action plan for my business.

    Is it a good start yes, I think so, this is what I asked for. The problem is, I asked for a simple business plan to start, and her time, if I needed anything. She is saying that she put 5 hours into this action plan and that is where I am feeling ripped off.

    She also stated in her response, that because local businesses where new to her, that she put the time in researching it. Well if she really did do some research, she wouldn't have asked questions like "Does Canada do Notary services? If so, make sure you are licensed as a Notary (this can bring in quite a lot of foot traffic!)" she would have researched it.

    Also, her first step a month or so ago, was to send letters (that she wrote) to all our old clients saying I am taking over my fathers business and blah blah blah, well, I sent out over 140 letters, and I received one phone call, saying so and so doesn't work here anymore, can I throw your letter out, I tried my sales pitch and got "ok, so can I go ahead and throw it out then?"


    I want this business to succeed and will put forth as much effort as possible. I told this girl right off the bat, that I did not have very much money, and need as much as possible out of her. She would talk a big game till she got payment, then I would get about half out of her. This has happened twice now, there will not be a third.
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    • Profile picture of the author AffiliateJ
      Put it down as a business cost for now, and ammend working with this person in the future (flat fee as others ave suggested etc).

      They may be a slow worker, they may be someone who takes advantage - you'll never know. But at least you know now for the future, when working with this person again.
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      • Profile picture of the author WyzoMarketing
        Originally Posted by AffiliateJ View Post

        Put it down as a business cost for now, and ammend working with this person in the future (flat fee as others ave suggested etc). ...
        Agreed. The more you outsource the more experience you'll have with internet workers. From experience I can tell that even after careful filtering I run into 10% complete idiots when outsourcing
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    • Profile picture of the author mello
      Originally Posted by jam52633 View Post

      This has happened twice now, there will not be a third.
      Think you've answered your own question. you appear to have given her the benefit of the doubt and hired her twice with a question in your mind about value for your spend.

      Cut your losses (mentally and fiscally). If you hire her back you'll only be suspicious and be too focussed on not 'getting ripped off' again. Whether she did or didn't or whether we think she did or didn't is not relevant.

      As much as it hurts, get back to running the business and make sure you get a project quote next time rather than an hourly rate.

      All the best
      Mel
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        Your biggest problem is that you hired a copywriter who charges by the hour.

        And the second problem was that you expected to get something good for $75.

        The vast majority of great copywriters charge by the project and you simply don't get good copywriters charging you $75.

        I think the advice was probably pretty good. If you followed the advice I think you'd do quite well.

        If it works it's certainly work a whole lot more than $75 to you so you probably got great value which is what you should be worried about.

        In other words is the work you got worth more than you paid for it. That's the biggest issue. My guess would be yes.

        I'm not quite sure why you got work like this from a copywriter...did it include a letter written for you?

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
    This is one very good reason I don't ever charge per hour but rather per project. Look at it this way: if you feel that the steps above are actionable, then you got your money's worth. # of hours shouldn't factor into it, results should.
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  • Profile picture of the author Taylor French
    I agree with the consensus. If you end up making more than $75 from the tips you were given, and the tips are things you weren't doing before, maybe it was worth it. Of course it's not going to be worth it if you don't follow through on the advice.
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    • Profile picture of the author WyzoMarketing
      Originally Posted by Taylor French View Post

      Of course it's not going to be worth it if you don't follow through on the advice.
      And that applies to each and every "guru" product let it be ebook or a super duper training pack, etc ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Let's look at this another way, a more productive way...

    The longer you spend here fussing about it the further out you are from actually implementing any ideas and building your business. You're NOT building your business with your current activity.

    It's all about . . . priorities!

    Just make a mental note to put more thought into your hiring propositions in the future.
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  • Profile picture of the author jam52633
    Thank you for you replies

    The first project I paid via hours, I got a $100 letter (paying via hours), so I asked for a flat fee, and explained that I was very tight on money and could not afford $100 a week.

    Second was a 300 word letter that cost me $60, which I will have to change about half of it. Again explained to her money was tight and we talked about putting a simple action plan together every week

    So the third was $75 for 5 hours, which should have been a simple action plan, and then answering any questions or help that I needed. Understanding it's only 5 hours.

    If I ask for a flat fee, I get high quotes, and if I ask for hourly I she offers the world, until I pay. Either was, I seem to lose.

    As for this plan, I was told that she had success helping a friend build business for his local business, and that she had experience. If I had of known that she was going to research from scratch, I would have did it myself. Why the hell would I hire someone to do something I can do. I have only did 1 job since X-mas, I have all the time in the world.


    Anyway, going to chalk it up as a learn experience, and move on

    Thanks
    Jamie
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  • Profile picture of the author neodarth
    It looks to me like a pretty good check list (or action plan for your business). Now if she spend 5 hours coming up with that, perhaps not... but as a flat fee for this check list, sounds reasonably for me.

    Now if you knew all the stuff that she wrote there, then, yes... you've been ripped of.
    But if you don't, then is worth the money don't you think?

    Is better to have a short well focused action plan, than a ten thousand words business plan that you will never be able to acomplish...that's only brings frustration... I know what I talking about... :_(
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    The way some people here talk, I should start selling a plan for $20,000. The steps should be...

    1. Find an old dirty piece of cardboard, preferrably moist, get an old piece of charcoal, wear the oldest and dirtiest clothes you can find. Roll around in some semi moist soil.
    get an old tattered blanket. Also get an old worn hat. Don't wear makeup and, if male, let your beard grow a few days.
    2. Find an old center island on a busy, but slow street or, better, a place near the entrance to a church on sunday. be there on a cold but sunny day in winter. It is better if there is a nice snow and gail.
    3. On the old cardboard, write "Homeless, desparate, 2 kids, will work for food/anything". When they pull up, ask for money.

    HEY, a person I knew once claimed he made $30,000/year doing that. I knew a person with friends that drove off in a nice NEW BMW every day that did that.

    So I guess it is worth $20,000, since you can make $30,000!

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      The way some people here talk, I should start selling a plan for $20,000. The steps should be...

      1. Find an old dirty piece of cardboard, preferrably moist, get an old piece of charcoal, wear the oldest and dirtiest clothes you can find. Roll around in some semi moist soil.
      get an old tattered blanket. Also get an old worn hat. Don't wear makeup and, if male, let your beard grow a few days.
      2. Find an old center island on a busy, but slow street or, better, a place near the entrance to a church on sunday. be there on a cold but sunny day in winter. It is better if there is a nice snow and gail.
      3. On the old cardboard, write "Homeless, desparate, 2 kids, will work for food/anything". When they pull up, ask for money.

      HEY, a person I knew once claimed he made $30,000/year doing that. I knew a person with friends that drove off in a nice NEW BMW every day that did that.

      So I guess it is worth $20,000, since you can make $30,000!

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        When you outsource work you should be looking for someone who does exactly what you need - and you need to decide what that is. The person you hire should be completing a task that you have clearly identified and outlined.

        The fact that you are tight on money is not the problem of the person you hire. Hiring someone while also complaining about having to pay their fees is not a professional way to conduct a business transaction.

        I have a problem with several things on the list she provided but I don't think anyone can create an action plan for your business except YOU. The suggestions provided are extremely vague and unsophisticated. However, I don't know if you are marketing online or offline - or both. I'm not sure the person you hired knew what you intended to do.

        If you were unavailable during the time the work was to be done, you should have canceled the job until a later date. Basically, you gave carte blanche to the outsourcer to create "something" but you weren't present to provide details or discuss the plan. I suggest you consider this a cost of doing business and move on. Do not hire any more work done until you have a firm plan of action and then you can hire people to do specific tasks that can be clearly defined and accomplished.

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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

        Your plan is missing one important element: How to sleep at nights.

        -Ray Edwards
        Well, with an income of $30,000, you can simply drive your car home. YEAH, it IS better if you have it in some secluded spot of a parking lot. Or if a friend drives you, it is even BETTER! HEY, you can CAR POOL!!!!

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author sligon00
    Originally Posted by jam52633 View Post

    I have had a copy writer, that has some business background helping me get my local business back into full swing.

    Now I paid for 5hours of help for the week unfortunately I was sick that week, and head to put it on hold. This is what I got
    5hours X $15 Per hour = $75.00 Total

    This is the business plan I recieved for the week

    Weekly Plan for Jamie for week ending 1/29

    Every day call ten people the first sales letter was sent to and follow up on that letter--try to get an appointment to meet with the business owner for a few minutes face to face so that you can better sell them on your service.
    Mail out letter to new clients

    Call local government entities: courthouses, public works offices (department of Children and Families, for example) and ask them about their advertising policy--explain that you run a Bailiff's office and you do, among other things, process serving and would like to advertise your services with a flier or some brochures. Ask if and how you can make that happen and how much it costs.
    Call your local newspapers and radio stations and ask them to send over their advertising rates.

    Find out if there is any sort of community bulletin board offered on the radio--a call in type show where people can sell things, ask for things, or advertise a service for free (or a small fee).

    List your business in every free website in your area.

    Find out what the printing rates are at your local print shops for fliers, letterheads, brochures and other items. If these shops have catalogues or fliers of their own collect them and start a file.

    Work on keeping office clean and maintained for foot traffic.

    Order/create letterhead and business cards.

    Does Canada do Notary services? If so, make sure you are licensed as a Notary (this can bring in quite a lot of foot traffic!)


    Do you think that is 5 hours of work? Or 5 minutes?

    If they had done it for you , maybe it would have taken 5 hours. But to
    just write it down, maybe 5 min. , 10 min. if they are slow pokes.

    By doing it for you, I mean actually following the steps themselves.

    I would not have paid them for what you have here.

    It is definitely not a business plan, it's just a list of ideas.

    You could have googled and gotten better information.

    BayAreaSteve
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I don't think that for $15 an hour you will get prize winning stuff - I mean you might be expecting too much for the money you are willing to pay?

    I'm guessing that most business plan contracters (or whatever they are called) probably charge a lot more than this? I know you said she was a copy writer with business experience and when I think of paying a copy writer, I think of forking over some serious dough so you have to ask yourself why would a copy writer work for $15 an hour writing a plan of action?
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  • Profile picture of the author LiquidSeo
    It's a no brainer -- ripped off. That MIGHT HAVE taken 45 minutes...tops. Regardless, paying $15 an hour for this will guarantee sub-par work.
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  • Profile picture of the author dsmpublishing
    Hi

    Its hard to tell - i would say that some jobs could take longer than others so it could add up to 5 hours.

    In future hire staff through odesk.com and then you can monitor them as you go and see a full work diary or pay people per job rather than per hour as people tend to work slower when its hourly as they try and sneak in another hours work.

    kind regards

    sam
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